2023 – Last Tomatoes

Today (5th November) I cleared out my greenhouse of the remaining tomato plants (and found a cucumber). I haven’t been watering them for a couple of weeks and the plants were in a bad way with grey mould on many of them. This collection won’t be added to the crop weight for the year, even if they ripen as it gets too complicated.

The total weight from the 24 plants we had this year was 33.5kg. The outdoor plants did particularly badly this year, they seem to have been attacked by birds (or some other animals – squirrels?) as soon as they became even slightly ripe. The mix of greenhouse tomatoes on the other hand has meant we’ve had a reasonable supply between July and October with the usual need to create tomato sauce for the freezer.

The cucumbers have similarly done quite well with 21 cucumbers from two plants in the greenhouse. The sweet peppers are on the windowsill ripening up with a decent harvest of around 16 peppers.

The only things that are still producing are the physalis (which seem to be taking their time this year) and carrots which I would expect to keep producing until the first frosts make it difficult to pull them up.

The home vegetable beds are otherwise clear, french & runner beans taken up (6kg and 3kg crop respectively) and the courgettes have finally given up the ghost (16kg).

Obviously the big disappointment for the year is the eating apples with not a single one escaping the squirrels and magpies. I’m going to have to think how to deal with that problem for next year.

Based upon my “value guesstimate” we’ve cropped around £100 of fruit and vegetables which is about the same a previous years.

On a completely different subject, I worked out why my temperature sensing Raspberry Pi wasn’t working, I’d connected the data/ground connections to the thermometer the wrong way around. Having sorted that out all is now working fine and I can measure the temperature wherever I want at one minute intervals. My current exercise is measuring how accurately our central heating system reflects demand. Our controls can have a number of different temperatures set during the day and what I can’t work out is whether minimising the number of temperature changes during the day (i.e. allowing it to settle) is better than setting a profile which reflects our use of the rooms. My thought was to measure a combination of the actual room temperature (to see by how much it varies from the target set by the heating thermostat) and the radiator temperatures (to see when the heating is working to warm up the room). At the moment it seems pretty obvious that the room temperature drifts around the target temperature by around half a degree but what is more difficult is to see how much the system overshoots.

During October (my first set of readings), the room (on average) seems to cool from 19C to 16C overnight (9 hours) but I have a feeling I need to “interfere less” with the target temperature to see how quickly the system warms the home. At the moment the system is set to raise the temperature by about half a degree every hour and I can’t see what effect that is having on the system overshooting and undershooting. More data needed.